JCCC Faculty Senate votes against Kansas Board of Regents Social Media Policy
Johnson County Community College Faculty Senate released a statement taking a stand for academic freedom. The statement released to the senate’s electronic mail server, Jan. 29, supports the state-wide Council of Faculty Senate Presidents’ call for the Kansas Board of Regents to suspend it’s newly adopted social media policy until the KBOR and the council can agree on a new one.
On Thursday, January 23, the Johnson County Community College Faculty Senate voted unanimously to support the Council of Faculty Senate Presidents’ resolution opposing the Board of Regents’ social media policy and calling for its suspension. Although the policy as written does not apply to community colleges, our action indicates the support by the faculty of the state’s largest community college for the rights of free speech and academic freedom in higher education.
Vincent A. Clark, Ph.D.
President, Johnson County Community College Faculty Senate
Watch Kansas City Week in Review discuss the social media policy in the first segment of weekly topics.
Posted today to the Johnson County Community College electronic mail server, Infolist:
Sent: Friday, January 24, 2014 9:41 AM
Subject: [infolist] A message from Joe Sopcich
January 24, 2014
As you well know, for the past few months we have been engaged in a thorough review of college programs and budgets. Since we launched these program review initiatives, the general response has been positive and constructive. While there were those who expressed their reservations, in various formats, I was encouraged over the months by the direct feedback I received as to how this type of initiative was necessary and overdue. In fact, it has been inspiring to see how people have rallied and tried to do the best job possible in a very short time frame. I can’t thank you enough for your efforts.
As part of the process during the fall semester, a Budget Review Team (BRT), representing all areas of the college, was formed to provide input. The BRT was something new for JCCC and was launched quickly and with little fanfare. I’ll be the first to say that we have much room for improvement in the future; nevertheless, we gave it our best shot and will continue to enhance the process. The thoughts the team shared reveal some themes that we need to consider. You can see that list here.
Editor’s Note: The document is password protected. It is document, “Input from the Budget Discussion Team,” which can be found here.
Originally, our goal was to cut at least $3 million in salaries and benefits from the college’s budget next year. However, as we gave our five-year budget projections another look, we felt our original projections were too optimistic. For example, revenues this year will be down as a result of the decline in enrollment, and we are no longer assured that we will be able to see an increase in state aid next year. Our projections calling for annual increases in enrollment and state aid were overly optimistic and unrealistic. Therefore, to keep the college sustainable for the future, it is in our best interest to eliminate a little more than $3 million this year and continue to review our programs and processes each year to make sure we are functioning as efficiently as possible.
The budget actions to be taken for the upcoming fiscal year are outlined in three levels:
JCCC President Joe Sopcich told the Faculty Senate the campus can expect a communique on Jan 24 concerning JCCC’s long-awaited budget decisions.
According to the Dec. 12 JCCC Faculty Senate Minutes “… a message will be sent that will itemize what will happen with regards to budget concerns and notifications.”
Sopchic and the Board of Trustees will continue to look at retirements and vacated positions and “will ask departments affected to fill-in the workload with existing personnel.”
Joe Sopcich shared some specifics:
- JCCC has experienced a 6th semester decline in enrollment; below 2006.
- JCCC has dipped into reserves 5 years straight; state funding is questionable.
- JCCC is pending results of a lawsuit that will affect higher education; 1.5% cut or $300,000 to JCCC.
- We need a five-year plan based on an optimistic projection in light of the property tax decline we have experienced.
- We are facing more competition than ever from area institutions and online options that students have at their fingertips.
- Recruiting will be a focus in spring 2014; if there is a market, we need to fill it.
The senate’s Budget Discussion Team voiced dissatisfaction with an administration document saying “Suggestions from faculty were solicited and compiled in a list which was unsourced and unaccredited.”
The Faculty Senate approved the following statement:
“The faculty senate rejects the validity of the process by which the document titled ‘Input from the budget discussion team’ was developed due to the lack of transparency in the process and the discrepancies between data gathered and that presented.”
However the senate declined to distribute the statement noting it could adversely affect morale and cause division among faculty.
The minuets also acknowledged the senate’s failure to distribute a statement that calls for transparency.
Johnson County Community College President Joseph Sopcich released a statement (below) to the campus addressing the college’s budget shortfall and impending cuts. The college will also raise tuition.
Follow the Campus Ledger’s reporting on the budget process.
Posted December 17, 2013 on the Johnson County Community College electronic mail server, Infolist:
Sent: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 3:31 PM
Subject: [infolist] A message from Joe Sopcich
As part of the budget process, we have been conducting an extensive review of college departments, programs and activities. A Budget Review Team with representatives from across the college was formed to provide input. The suggestions they shared revealed some themes that we will consider further.
Although we are not yet through with the budget process, we have determined that the majority of the $3 million in savings required from salary and benefits can be accomplished through normal attrition. Not filling positions vacated through resignations or retirements will require remaining employees to pick up additional responsibilities as departments figure out how to consolidate or eliminate the tasks and projects the vacated positions would have handled.
We are still continuing to review programs, functions and activities to meet the long-term goals of continuous improvement and enhancing operating efficiencies. As a result, identification of additional cuts, consolidation of efforts or reorganization will be part of an ongoing improvement process.
Just before the winter break, an email sent by JCCC’s Budget Discussion Team revealed that the campus has a whole lot of grinches in its midst.
The budget update posted to the Faculty Association listserv, JCCFA, compiled suggestions on areas the college should consider when making budget decisions in later this month.
“Attached is the compilation of all of the feedback received by faculty, administrators, and staff, about where cuts could be made,” the email read. “This document was given to our team this week. Hopefully everyone who contributed material to me will see something in the list that looks like a summary of your comments.”
Suggestions include eliminating: librarians, selected sports, and entire programs like cosmetology. Employees also want to outsource everything from Human Resources to the police department. They recommend closing JCCC’s off campus sites, and even selling college acreage. Administrators did not escape the proposed budget ax either. Employees advise cutting the administration’s numbers and salaries.
“My take so far: everyone had the opportunity to sound off, and many were glad to point fingers at others. So the document is sometimes hard to digest (someone really thought that???). We can only hope that those who are making the decisions (not our team) will be able to separate the good stuff from the completely inappropriate.”
The email also said the Budget Discussion Team will no longer have any further input into the process.
“Our only remaining meeting is to hear the results in late January.”
The attachment, in PDF, cut and pasted: